Nuclear Medicine - Lymphoscintigraphy

Lymphoscintigraphy is a special type of nuclear medicine imaging that provides pictures called scintigrams of the lymphatic system.

Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease and certain other abnormalities within the body.

Nuclear medicine or radionuclide imaging procedures are noninvasive and usually painless medical tests that help physicians diagnose medical conditions. These imaging scans use radioactive materials called radiopharmaceuticals or radiotracers.

Depending on the type of nuclear medicine exam you are undergoing, the radiotracer is either injected into a vein, swallowed or inhaled as a gas and eventually accumulates in the organ or area of your body being examined, where it gives off energy in the form of gamma rays. This energy is detected by a device called a gamma camera, a (positron emission tomography) PET scanner and/or probe. These devices work together with a computer to measure the amount of radiotracer absorbed by your body and to produce special pictures offering details on both the structure and function of organs and tissues.

The lymphatic system is a network of small channels similar to blood vessels that circulate the fluid (called lymph) and cells (lymphocytes) of the immune system throughout the body. Lymph nodes, which act like a filter for foreign bodies such as germs, viruses and pollen, are located along this network.

Radiologists  perform lymphoscintigraphy to:
•    identify the first lymph node to receive lymph drainage from a tumor. This lymph node is often referred to as the “sentinel node.”
•    plan a biopsy or surgery which will help assess the stage of cancer and create a treatment plan.
•    identify points of blockage in the lymphatic system.
•    evaluate lymphedema, a condition in which a blockage causes lymphatic fluid to accumulate in soft tissues, leading to swelling, often in an arm or leg.

Nuclear Medicine Services: